Beyond Technique - BJJ Concepts

Beyond Technique is an instructional video by Kit Dale and Nicolas Gregoriades that covers 20 BJJ concepts over a wide range of positions. It was one of the first instructionals to to focus entirely on BJJ Concepts & principles. Below I give a short summary of the concepts that are covered.

Transitional Pressure

When moving between positions, (side mount, knee ride, north-south, mount ) you want to maintain pressure on your opponent at all times. At no point do you want to take the pressure off, you want constant pressure and control.

The Fisherman

Like lifting your fishing rod up in the air before you begin to wind the reel to help land the fish.
If you are in someone’s guard and they have grips on your sleeve stand up and posture with your legs and hips and then recover control of your sleeves by bringing them closer to your body. The opposite would be just trying to pull your arms in on their own.

Instead let your legs, hips and posture be the fishing rod lifting up and then pull your arms in

The Quadrant

“A four-legged table is a stable base, a two-legged table falls of its own accord”
Consider an opponent on their hands and feet with each limb representing a table leg. Then Divide the body into 4 quadrants. With one quadrant representing the left leg, right leg, left arm and right arm.
To plan your sweeps you want to look at what quadrant of your opponent you have neutralised and that is the area and direction that they can be swept into.

A quadrant that is defended by a free hand or leg will be used to support the opponent if you try to sweep them into that quadrant. Instead, immobilise a quadrant and sweep into that quadrant.

Post, Pressure and leverage.

Three principles are used for sweeps. Either do all three or two really well for a sweep to work. Taking away the ability to post is the same as the quadrant concept. You then want to get a grip to take away the opponents posture. Once you have taken away their post and posture you need to create a leverage point on their body by getting a grip or using your foot and then sweep into the quadrant that you have taken away the post from.

The Porcupine

The porcupine concept states that when someone is trying to control you, you should be “spiky” or “Prickly” like a porcupine by using harder parts of your anatomy against softer parts of your opponent’s anatomy. For example, using your wrist bone or the point of your elbow against soft parts of your opponent’s neck or sternum.

Nullifying the guard pull.

For competition Jiu-Jitsu against guard pullers. To pull guard the opponent’s hips must come closer than their shoulders. To nullify this look to grab their lapel on their shoulder and break them forward so that their shoulder will always be closer to you than their hips.
If they pop back after you have broken their posture forward they will be susceptible to leg sweeps/trip takedowns.

The Corkscrew

Deals with how you push and pull with your arms. Do not push straight out, it is a more efficient movement to rotate your arm when you push out, similar to throwing a punch.

When pulling it is the same concept but in reverse, so when you pull in you will rotate your arm. For example, if your palm was facing down when you grabbed your opponent you will rotate your arm so that once you finish pulling in your palm will face up. Essentially pulling and pushing as if you were throwing punches and rolling your knuckles over.

Weight distribution

When guard passing you must always control your balance, base, the centre of gravity or else you will be easy to sweep.

Changing your centre of gravity to the opposite of where your opponent is looking to sweep you will make it difficult for them. This will usually be controlled by moving your hips.

If they have taken a post away then you can use the quadrant concept in reverse by shifting your weight and centre of gravity to the opposite quadrant from your compromised quadrant.

Collapsing and inserting structures

Using your body to strengthen and reinforce an area that your opponent may be attacking, for instance placing a structure of your elbows between your legs so that your opponent cannot squeeze your legs together. Or creating a structure by grabbing the outside of your own knees and placing your elbows on the mat to prevent toriander passes. Any area that your opponents are looking to squeeze or crush see if you can insert a structure to prevent this.

If your opponent is using a structure to attack, for instance, spider guard where the structure would be the opponent’s legs. To escape the spider guard you cannot be rigid and tense as this will give strength to your opponent’s structure. Instead, you should relax and take all pressure away which will collapse the structure.

Double-Barrel Shotgun

This concept is for keeping your guard. Think of each of your legs as the barrels of a double-barreled shotgun. When you shoot one of the barrels this is when you extend one of your legs out. Now in this concept you never want to have shot both barrels at the same time, that is you never want to extend both of your legs at once. You always want to have one bullet in the chamber so that even if one of your legs is extended you want your other leg with your knee to your chest so that it can protect you from having your guard passed.

Open and closed chain

Consider your limbs as chains that start at your torso and end at the end of your limbs. Your chains are vulnerable to being attacked when they are opened. Open is when they are not attached to the floor, holding into something or hidden away.

When considering the chain of your arms you want to protect the hand and the wrist because this is the end of the chain. For instance, if you are feeling vulnerable to an armbar you need to hide or protect the end of the chain which is your hand and wrist. As long as you keep the chain closed, or hide the end of it away the opponent cannot finish the attack on the chain.

With leglocks, your foot is the end of the chain. So a common leglock escape would be to clear your hip and put all your weight on your foot so that it connects to the floor. This is closing the chain of your legs by connecting your foot to the floor.

Removing leverage

If you are passing someone’s guard it is helpful to make yourself feel as heavy as possible to your opponent. This is done by removing the opponent’s leverage points or levers so that they are not leveraging any part of your body and instead are carrying all of your weight. An example of this would be when in butterfly guard pinning both the opponent’s legs together so that the butterfly guards lever is removed.

Spinal Torque

Consider your spine and when it is in a neutral position it is at its strongest. But if it is twisted, bent or kinked it instantly weakens your entire structure. Always be looking to put a kink in your opponent’s spine or torque it in some way to weaken their entire structure. Conversely, when defending you want to keep your spine in the neutral position the entire time to regain your strength. For instance, moving your opponent’s hips one way but keeping their upper body pinned or even moving their jaw/head in the opposite direction. By torquing the spine by attacking and twisting the jaw you will even weaken your opponent’s legs.

If you find yourself in a stalemate with your opponent consider their spine, is it in a neutral position? Or could you torque it by moving their hips or jaw? And conversely, consider your spines position and make sure it is neutral to generate the maximum amount of leverage.

Size-specific strategy

For when certain moves only work on certain body types. For instance, if you are against a taller opponent playing spider guard will be really difficult as they can create a lot of slack in their arms by simply standing. For a tall opponent, you want to use a short-range guard not a long-range guard as you want to neutralise the advantage of height that your opponent may have. Conversely, If you are taller use a long-range guard.

The same principle applies when passing. If you are going against a taller opponent you will have to pass by keeping close to their body or by using a half guard pass so that they cannot use the full length of their limbs.

Border Patrol

Consider you have an invisible border running down the side of your torso and between your shoulder and across your hips. Think of a rectangle between your shoulders and hips. You want to make sure your opponent never gets inside your borders if they are wanting to control you. Conversely, if you are looking to control your opponent then you want to get inside this border. When defending your border you never want to let your opponent get their body in your border so you would jam a limb or knee between your border and your opponent’s body to prevent this.

Even when on the mount this would be pulling the opponent’s elbows away from their body/border so that they become compromised.

Loading the spring

When passing the guard or sweeping you can accidentally telegraph your move, consider this as loading up your punches or pulling back before you punch.

For example when attempting a pass when you would push your opponent’s legs in and then pull them out to pass the legs. You do not want to push the legs in suddenly as this is the telegraph to your opponent. Instead, you would load the spring by driving your pressure in slowly until you feel your opponent start to push away and you would then pull their legs out.
If any movement involves a push / pull motion then loading the spring is not exploding into the push-pull which would telegraph your intentions. But rather slowly forcing your opponent into the position where you would have pushed them (this would be when the spring is loaded) and then executing the pull.

The Pendulum

Using a part of your anatomy that you throw through space to create a pendulum effect that moves the rest of your body.

For example, when laying flat and looking to sit up you would not just raise your shoulders up, instead, you would raise your legs to the sky and then throw them down towards the ground. This would create the pendulum effect that would lift your shoulders.

Takedown postures

A concept that takes your opponent’s posture into account to dictate what takedown you would use against them. If they are standing very upright then you would attack their legs with trips or leg picks. If your opponent is leaning forward then you would instead consider throwing them. If your opponent is really far back and leaning forward then you would look to snap them down.

With these three setups in mind, you can rotate between them as the counters from one posture and takedown will usually lead them into one of the other postures.

Hip centric movement

Often in scrambles, you may reflexively move your arms to gain control over your opponent but it is instead much better to think of where you move your hips and use your hip position to gain control over your opponent. For instance, do not reach or grab your opponent but rather move your hips closer to them which will give you much more leverage.

The Misdirection

Like Judo whoever gets the dominant grips will most likely win. Misdirection is to get the grips you want without telegraphing your intention. If you want to grab their feet you do not want to look at their feet and move directly to grab them as it will be obvious to your opponent. instead, want to see where your opponent is looking or paying attention to and use movement to misdirect them away from where you are looking to grip. This may be looking at their legs and grabbing the lapel instead and not easily telegraphing your intention to your opponent.

BJJ Concepts Summary: Beyond Technique – Concept Focused BJJ

You can purchase the instructional from Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood.

Sonny Brown